Dear Carat Staff: Layoffs Are Coming. To Everyone Else: Be Nice

These things happen. Everyone's done it. It's just too easy what with all the mailing group features in Outlook that make it so simple to send email to entire groups of people with one click. That's apparently what Carat Chief People Officer (can we stop with these idiotic titles?) Rose Zory did today when she sent an email about upcoming layoffs intended for select senior management to the entire agency.

Oh yea. It was a huge mistake. But it happens. What makes this error so entertaining is that the emails contained all sorts of business babble about "right sizing" and "building for the future" with "critical talent" to "bring the skill sets we need to effectively service our business and future client needs." But agencies just can't help themselves on that count.

While it's not often agency management informs the entire staff of its "restructuring" plans in full detail, most layoffs are never a secret. There are just too many loose lips in the agency world not to mention the fairly easy task of sensing a slide in business which, in almost every case, is followed by layoffs.

The documents even contained commentary on the public relations aspect of the planned layoffs with Senior VP Rob Hollander writing, "This is a tough one. Since we're not opting to get out in front of the press, we will be left to defend. I think we may need to prepare for different contingencies depending on how they may hit us -- because they will hit us. RISK assessment."

Well Adrants isn't going to hit you, Carat These things happen. If there's anything a person who's worked in the business knows, layoffs happen all the time. It's never fun. In fact, it can be a nightmare, personally and financially but you move on. It's a big shock but unless you are an idiot, there's always a next chapter in the career book.

So to those who received that email and ultimately end up on Carat's chopping block, you have a future. There will be life after Carat for you.

To Carat's CPO, you're in trouble. You may not lose your job but,no doubt, you are in some serious shit today. You're human and humans make mistake but forgiveness doesn't always come to the rescue of those who make mistakes of this magnitude. Still, no matter what happens, there is life after Carat.

To those who survive the layoffs and wonder whether or not you should stay on since, well, an agency that undergoes a major restructuring is never the most happy place to be, realize every agency has its ups and downs. And, as they say, what goes up, must come down and, in business, can come up again.

To those who structured the layoff plan, at least you had a plan versus some agencies which, in many cases, have simply dumped employees for no apparent reason. Though not that much of a reason needs to be given because layoffs only happen for two reasons: a person sucks at their job or there isn't enough business to support the person's job. It's really that simple.

To the blogs that are gong to crap all over this one: don't. Humorous and idiotic as this screw up may seem, people's careers and livelihood are at stake. It's quite different than crapping on someone - or their agency - because their most recent ad campaign sucks.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 3-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Agencies, Opinion   

Enjoy what you've read? Subscribe to Adrants Daily and receive the daily contents of this site each day along with free whitepapers.



I appreciated your thoughtful post on what is sure to be the debacle of the week/month. It's a welcome and refreshing change from the smarmy gallows humor I've gotten used to (and yes, occasionally participated in) in our industry.
Nicely done.

Posted by: mnik on September 3, 2008 10:15 PM

This happened to me years ago at Digitas. A revised org chart missing about 50 employees was accidentally left on the printer. As a mere associate I was surprised to see my manager missing. But it did give people a chance to quietly gather their things and prepare their portfolios....perhaps a little advance notice is actually a compassionate and mature way to handle such things. Good luck to all those at Carat...I wish you bountiful severance and a window to better opportunities.

Posted by: CopyBiter on September 4, 2008 8:59 AM

Well said, Steve. The press is having a field day with this one & making a mockery of a situation that will no doubt affect the lives of dozens of hard-working people who are just trying to support their families/pay their absurdly over-priced rents/feed themselves. Mistakes happen. There are always consequences & you move on. Period.

Posted by: AgencyDude on September 4, 2008 9:37 AM

BRAVO!!! Finally someone that looks at the bigger picture. Accidents happen and we will recover! The only reason Carat is getting hit so hard is because our competitors know that we are a company to be scared of. If Carat didn’t matter they wouldn’t even comment! We will be back on top in a year. We can forgive but will never forget Adage!

Posted by: Carat employee on September 4, 2008 4:59 PM

I worked (albeit obtusely) with Carat when on the Mini business in the UK. Good folk, wouldn't have a bad word said about them.

Nice post Steve.

Posted by: Floyd Hayes on September 4, 2008 5:13 PM

What a bunch of douchebags the folks at Ad Age are for posting the specific details of who executed the blunder. Mistakes happen. No need to be a bully.

Posted by: Edward on September 5, 2008 2:48 PM